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3 Reasons Why Your Budget Isn’t Working For You

You’ve made the budget, you’ve allocated a slot for every penny, and you know exactly how much you should and shouldn’t be spending each day, week, month, and year. So why is your money still flying out of your bank account? There are many reasons why your budget may not be working for you. In this article, we’ll talk about three things that may be holding you back from the most financially responsible version of yourself. Let’s get started!

1. you haven’t changed your habits

Reason number one as to why your budget may not be sticking is that you may not have changed all your spending habits. Truly changing your spending habits goes deeper than avoiding shopping sprees and cutting your Starbucks habit down from every day to twice a week. 

To truly change your spending habits for good, you first need to deeply understand them. Set aside some time to sit down with the last month (or several) of your spending. Get honest with yourself about where your temptations and triggers are. Do you always get a drink when you fill your car up at the gas station? Are you buying more than what’s on your list at the grocery store each week? Is the vending machine in your office stealing your money because you’re not packing adequate snacks for the workday? 

Knowing exactly where these small overspendings happen and why it’s essential to truly sticking to your budget. If you know that getting gas creates a temptation for you to go in and buy an unnecessary $2 drink, start keeping a water bottle and some water flavor packets with you at all times. If you’re always filling your grocery cart with things that aren’t on the list, try only doing pickup orders for a while!

Know yourself and set yourself up for success. Once you identify all these habits that cause you to overspend, you can truly “FIRE YOUR OLD SELFand create aNEW SELFthat you will hopefully LOVE

2. you haven’t changed your values

Sometimes, overspending isn’t caused by something as simple as a habit of picking up a refreshment each time your car needs gas. Sometimes, it’s a lot deeper than that. A second reason as to why your budget never sticks is because you haven’t changed your values. 

You can tell yourself “I’m not going to buy any new clothing this month” all day long, but if you still feel internally that you need the latest trends to be enough as a person, you’re going to buy new clothes. Sure, when you read it that way it sounds superficial and shallow to feel like clothes give you value as a person, but so many of us identify with this even if we don’t realize it. 

Once you’ve got a good idea of where you’re overspending, ask yourself why those categories might be hard for you to quit. 

  • Are you relying on fashion to express who you are as a person? 
  • Do you feel you won’t be accepted socially if you don’t attend every happy hour? 
  • Does it feel like your house isn’t a home unless you keep filling it with decor?

If you can really be honest with yourself about what unhealthy internal values you have around the material things, what you’re spending your hard-earned money on, then you can do some internal work to “FIRE YOUR OLD SELF” and create a “NEW SELF” and replace them with the truth.

  • Your clothes don’t define you; your actions do. 
  • If your friends judge you for staying in to save some money, you need new friends, and making your favorite foods and drinks at home can be way more fun. 
  • Home decor doesn’t make a home; love, happiness, provision, and memories do. 

3. you haven’t changed your mindset

The third barrier to budget bliss is a mindset that just hasn’t bought into the “why” behind your money goals. Do you truly believe with every part of you that sticking to your budget will improve your life? Can you envision yourself debt free or no longer needing to rely on a full-time paycheck? If not, your budget will never work. 

Here’s a challenge. Get a notebook and pen and make yourself comfy. Then, write a short story about the version of you that you’ll be if you stick to your budget for the next six months. How much debt will you have paid off? What will your emergency fund look like? How much further along will you be in your retirement planning? 

You can do this exercise for six months from now, a year from now, five years from now… the point is to really visualize yourself reaping the benefits of sticking to a budget. Get grounded in why you started in the first place. What do you want for yourself financially? Then, you have to work on believing in the process. 

If your budget is sound, it will work. If you have allocated enough money for food, living costs, and transportation, there’s no need to overspend! Unless your habits, values, and mindset aren’t on board.  So, if you’re sick of beating yourself up for overspending, sit down and assess these three areas. You’ll probably find some sort of misalignment. Take the time to do the internal work, and tell the old habits, the old values, and the old mindsets that they are officially “FIRED” from your life. The more you get to know yourself and intentionally work on improving yourself, the easier budgeting will get and the more you’ll appreciate that “Life’s Short”, you have to “Love the Life You Live”! 

Madelyn

Madelyn is a freelance writer living in Central Arkansas. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. With six years of writing content for digital platforms under her belt, she looks forward to growing her freelancing career! Madelyn loves personal finance, minimalism, her dog, her cat, and health and fitness! She spends her free time lifting weights, going for long walks, binging docuseries, and reading all the books. Madelyn is thrilled to be a Fire Yourself contributor, as she already thinks about financial independence, retiring early, and shifting her mindset pretty much 24/7. She has been writing for us since October of 2021.
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